The global response to covid has had many unexpected impacts on our lives, and not all of them have been negative. We have seen people all over the world taking drastic measures to completely change their lives, from quitting jobs and totally changing careers, to uprooting themselves and their families to entirely new countries to start new lives bearing no relation to their pre-pandemic existence.
It’s fair to say that two years of restrictions and time at home to think has had a profound effect on everyone. Along with the frustration and fear many of us faced each day, there was also the monotony and the introspection that such a long time at home brought upon us. For many people, the life they saw around them once all external stimuli were removed was a sobering sight, bringing to light that our time is precious and that certain aspects of ourselves and our surroundings are overdue for an overhaul.
This has propelled the growth of what is known as ‘the transformation economy’. Whether it was learning yoga at home via online classes, learning new creative skills, or home improvement projects, many of us tackled an area of ourselves or our lives that we thought could be made better if only we paid it the time and attention. Often these areas to be improved were ones that had always bothered us, but which we never felt the pressing need to fix. Now, however, we appreciate our time and our freedom more than ever before, and we don’t want to waste any more of our time putting up with less-than-ideal versions of ourselves.
The transformation economy is not selling us products (that’s the goods economy), nor is it selling us memories (that’s the experience economy), instead it is selling us improvements. Whether it’s games to level-up our habits and memory, items to track and improve our sleep, supplements to make us look and perform better, or courses and retreats to give us the tools to build the life of our dreams, the transformation economy promises that the best version of ourselves is only a purchase and a regime away.
This economy has always been present, from fitness to relaxation, beauty and learning new workplace skills. But never has it had the widespread appeal that it does now, after two years of closely examining our shortcomings and being frustrated at our lack of freedom to live our lives as we once did. Returning to the normal life of pre-pandemic times is not enough of a compensation for what we have collectively been through, it seems. Instead we are raring to go and to achieve everything we never had the time or the fortitude to achieve before. For that, many of us feel we need some assistance, and that’s where there is money to be made – the ‘economy’ bit of the transformation economy.
So it sounds like a win-win for everyone, right?
Well, it can be. The only danger is in striving for a perfection that can never be reached. Just as with the beauty and wellness industries (which do have some overlap with the transformation industry) there is a constant pressure both internally and externally to improve ourselves constantly in a way that simply isn’t achievable or sustainable, and which makes us feel worse rather than better.
Prioritizing what’s truly important to us, setting realistic and healthy goals for ourselves, and learning to live with the rest of the imperfections that are part of life, are the only ways to benefit from this growing movement. But if we can approach the wealth of transformative options on offer from this perspective, we can truly benefit from this potentially life-changing landscape of opportunities.